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What happened to me? Bonk?

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Old 10-18-05, 12:02 PM
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Blaise655
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After getting home from school, I had a snack consisting of a Clif bar and about a tablespoon of almond butter and headed out on the bike for a ~30 mile ride. Things started out fine, and I was moving along for 45 minutes to an hour at ~20mph. I felt great.

Then, shortly thereafter, while riding up a moderately inclined road, I noticed it was getting hard to push the pedals. While climbing I always opt to spin on easy gears, but for some reason it wasn't working for me now.

To make a long story short, I slowly and painfully rode the remaining 10 miles or so home. During that time my legs felt like cement, I was dizzy, felt like my vision was blurry, and closed my eyes for a few seconds without even realizing it a couple times.

I drank plenty of water, and ate a ~550 calorie breakfast of oats, berries, and flax seeds. My pre-ride snack hasn't changed or anything, so I'm confused. I've never eaten during a ride and this has never happened to me before. I ran yesterday, and biked today, I'm alternating between running/riding 4 days a week. Could running for an hour yesterday (~7 miles) have increased my metabolism/need for energy so much so to cause my distress today? I just don't get it, I've NEVER felt this way and have been riding for about 3 years now.

If it helps any, I'm about 5' 11" 165lbs.
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Old 10-18-05, 12:13 PM
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I'm not a bonking expert, but I've had the exact same thing happen to me a couple of times. A good snack always helped get me home. From what I hear, bonking kills all of your energy. Riding ten miles would suggest that you didn't quite bonk.
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Old 10-18-05, 01:37 PM
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I had something like this happen to me once, but then I found out my rear brake had gotten ****ed up and was lighly dragging on my rim...for 15-20 miles.
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Old 10-18-05, 02:16 PM
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Blaise655
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There were no technical problems with the bike, it's riding smooth as ever after I spent Saturday cleaning and adjusting it. From what I've heard a real "bonk" is when your body just completely gives out (I'm thinking of the pictures of triathletes literally dragging their bodies to the IronMan finishlines) and what I experienced wasn't that. But my body didn't want to cooperate, and my legs just wouldn't keep the cadence and speed up. I slowed down so much that I averaged about 15mph, 4-5mph below normal.

Since I've never dealt with this before, it worries me. Now that my weekly schedule looks like run-bike-rest-run-bike, I wonder if the varied activity is increasing metabolism or affecting my muscles in vastly different (and harsher?) ways. I'm trying to train over the winter for triathlons in spring and summer (maybe winter, we'll see) so I can't really cut either the running or the biking (obviously!) out of my routine.

Lack of sleep? Nah, I never sleep well and always ride fine. Overtraining? Nope, aside from a brief and relaxing ride with my dad on Sunday, my body had 2 days to recover from last week. Poor nutrition? I eat exceptionally "clean," but am I taking in enough to sustain my habits? Hydration? I went through 2 28oz bottles and 2 22oz bottles while riding, definitely not it. So, what?

Please! Help me!
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Old 10-18-05, 02:16 PM
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What have your workouts been for the weeks before? What's your diet been like? It's unlikely that this was an incident that happened just on this ride, could've been numerous factors leading up to it.

"To make a long story short, I slowly and painfully rode the remaining 10 miles or so home. During that time my legs felt like cement, I was dizzy, felt like my vision was blurry, and closed my eyes for a few seconds without even realizing it a couple times."

When you closed your eyes, did you happen to take a look at the computer before and afterwards? Was there an 8-minute time-span that elapsed which you couldn't account for?
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Old 10-18-05, 02:24 PM
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Blaise655
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
What have your workouts been for the weeks before? What's your diet been like? It's unlikely that this was an incident that happened just on this ride, could've been numerous factors leading up to it.

"To make a long story short, I slowly and painfully rode the remaining 10 miles or so home. During that time my legs felt like cement, I was dizzy, felt like my vision was blurry, and closed my eyes for a few seconds without even realizing it a couple times."

When you closed your eyes, did you happen to take a look at the computer before and afterwards? Was there an 8-minute time-span that elapsed which you couldn't account for?
Haha, like some kind of abduction? Nah, I've been stuck on earth all day, hell I almost fell over onto it earlier. My diet, well, as far as common daily items go - oats, flax seeds, berries, almonds, tuna, sprouted grain bread, yogurt, Kashi Go Lean, Clif Bars, veggies, apples, bananas, eggs, brown rice, barley, beans, sweet potatoes, etc. I take lots of care to avoid foods that irritate my system (milk, for one, and I avoid all kinds of processed "junk.")

As far as the workouts go, everything's standard. My rides (2, maybe 3 times a week) are one of 4 ~30 mile loops I have at anywhere from 18-20 mph on average. Variety of climbs, descents, and flats, I'm used to the roads I ride. The running is sort of a new thing, I stopped for a while after track & field (I'm 18, HS senior, btw) while I got on the bike again throughout the summer (with no problems.) I got new running shoes and started pounding the pavement again about a month ago, and usually go for a little over an hour on either a 5 or 7 mile loop depending on how I'm feeling.

So like I said, I'm lost. I've been trying to analyze what could have done this, but I haven't been able to pick out anything unusual lately.
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Old 10-18-05, 02:25 PM
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I think maybe I'd ask the Doctor. Could be a blood sugar thing or some other edocrine system thing going on.
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Old 10-18-05, 02:27 PM
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Perhaps though, now that I think about it...

This is the first week I've been alternating between running and biking. Previously I'd either run all week or bike all week. This Monday's run and today's ride are the first "combined" kind of activity I've done. Could that have done it?

Muscle recovery can't completely avoid suspicion, but I always take care to have a carb and protein dense recovery shake RIGHT after I get back, stretch, and relax the rest of the day. I didn't feel soreness or anything that would indicate significant muscle damage this morning; and that still doesn't explain the vison/dizziness thing.
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Old 10-18-05, 03:29 PM
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My first guess is that you've increased the amount of exercise you've been doing. Yet you haven't increased your diet to match. Micronutrients, fibre, fats and protein requirements don't go up that much with exercise, however your carb intake must increase accordingly. Try doubling your carb intake and monitor how you feel for the next two weeks.

Also doubling up on the workouts isn't too bad as long you're not too sore the next day. An easy workout like 20-30 mile ride at 60% will usually loosen that up and you'll feel fine by the end of the day, ready for another hard workout the next day.

Try tracking all your meals at fitday.com for the next couple weeks and we should be able to spot some trends.

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Old 10-18-05, 05:39 PM
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Sounds like bonk to me. Bonk is not total failure of the motor, but a marked decrement in power output due to running out of readily available energy. Muscles rely on muscle glycogen and liver stores of glycogen for fuel. Neither one of these is good for much more than 40-60miles on the bike. A 7mi run would certainly deplete muscle glycogen and if not adequately replenished the muscles would run out even sooner if you didn't eat. You mention breakfast and a snack and 'after school' suggesting no lunch and an afternoon ride. This is a setup for the bonk. I find that a snickers bar or equivalent is good for 8-10miles on the bike beyond the 30mi mark on a ride. You have gotten away with insufficient caloric intake in the past, you just had a lesson in what can happen if you persist.
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Old 10-18-05, 07:36 PM
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Forgot to clarify - "school" for me is only around 2-3 hours daily, I've worked out a special schedule for my senior year, so I'm not going long periods without eating. I don't think it's my diet, I'm eating more than I ever have lately, but should I add some carbs? My friends suggested it could be stress - applying to college and the like. I don't "feel" stressed, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on in my life. Could stress be a factor in this? Might my "symptoms" have been amplified by the fact that I was thinking and worrying about them all the way home?

BTW - I already keep track of my nutrition, albiet not with FitDay, I just use an excel spreadsheet instead, it's easier (for me). I don't run and ride on the same day either, in case that was confusing. I ran monday and biked today (tuesday)
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Old 10-18-05, 10:38 PM
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Yes, keep everything the same, add more carbs. About 2 extra potatoes a day should do.
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Old 10-19-05, 01:43 AM
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A trick that I learned while backpacking, that I hadn't thought of applying to biking -

If you find that you're often getting energy crashes during a ride, start carrying a little ziploc with about a liter's worth of gatorade. If it happens again, pull over, and chow down on some powdered energy. That'll get you 10 miles easy.

I suppose the same could be done with energy bars, but those are out of my budget
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Old 10-19-05, 08:29 PM
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Normally I'd go along with everything said here, certainly the carb intake, but the whole eye closing thing, blurred vision, and overall body fatigue makes me think of migraines. Have you ever been checked for them? Did you have any sort of headache like pains?

Here's some migrain symptoms:

Migraines

The symptoms of migraine headaches can occur in various combinations and include:

Moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other
Sensitivity to light, noise or odors
Blurred vision
Nausea or vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
Sensations of being very warm or cold
Paleness
Fatigue
Dizziness
Fever (rare)
Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines (aura)

(granted half of these symptoms are symptoms for having 1 too many beers too )


Just a thought to throw out there as these things are difficult to diagnos... still, go to the doctor and get a proper evaluation (or two or three from different doctors... maybe a sports medicine specialist).
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Old 10-20-05, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Blaise655
I ran yesterday, and biked today, I'm alternating between running/riding 4 days a week. Could running for an hour yesterday (~7 miles) have increased my metabolism/need for energy so much so to cause my distress today?
Yes. But more likely, you simply experienced muscle "fatigue". Not really anything you can do about it by eating. That's why you "train"......
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